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Erasing heartache: Franklin County QB looks to have year with better ending

From The Natchez Democrat

MEADVILLE — Ja’Quan Brown won’t play another 7-on-7 this summer, so he wants to make sure he’s ready the next time he takes the field against another team.

After wrapping up Tuesday’s scrimmage at Cathedral, Brown will lead Franklin County High School as its starting quarterback this fall in hopes of erasing the heartache from last season’s 1-10 finish.

Brown came into the starter spot for the Bulldogs last season as a junior. After Week 1, he missed three games with a shoulder injury. But now, the senior-to-be said he’s even more passionate about the game since he’s returned to his leadership role.

“It was really hard,” he said. “All I wanted to do was be out there. I wanted to win games simply because I was out of the game.”

Unfortunately for Brown, a win didn’t come until the Bulldogs’ regular-season finale when they topped Jefferson County, 31-0.

Brown said thinking back to the hardship there’s a lot on his mind, but there is one thing he knows for sure.

“I don’t want to go through that my senior year,” he said. “I don’t want my senior year to be like that. I felt what the seniors last year were going through.”

The big difference for this year Brown, however, will be the load he will need to bear as an upperclassman leader. Franklin County graduated 22 players from last season’s team, leaving just six on this year’s roster.

“Everything we do will start with him,” Franklin County offensive coordinator Steve Davis said. “He has to be the leader. He has to be that guy who can put the others on his back.”

While Brown has his own ways of making sure this year has a brighter ending, Davis has his own. After spending last season coaching at Natchez High School, Davis is implementing a new system on offense alongside head coach Trey Woodard.

Davis said the Bulldogs will transition to snaps under center and will pass the ball less since the team lacks receivers.

“We were used to passing that way, and now we have to use the run that way. It’s more deceptive,” Davis said. “There are motions and all that kind of stuff.”

The Bulldogs plan is to use not only Brown — who can run quickly thanks to his small, strong stature — but also a number of other backs including fellow senior Clay Wright.

“I think a lot of guys are going to have a really good season for us,” Davis said. “We’ve gotten better over this summer. It’s just a lot of learning.”

With a host of changes, Brown said he thinks football will surprise him this year. But as the season progesses, he said there’s only one thing he’ll be thinking when he’s under the lights.

“I’m just trying to win the game,” he said.